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Kerry Dixon

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About Kerry Dixon

  • Birthday 02/04/1974

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  • Location
    North Yorks
  • Interests
    Cinema, music (especially musicals!), reading, travelling, shopping!<br><br>In school pastoral care, producing/directing the school musical, German exchange visit

Kerry Dixon's Achievements


Newbie (1/14)

  1. I'm not a music teacher but I hope you won't mind helping an "invader" from the language board! I worked with the music department last year on a very successful production of the schools edition of Les Miserables. it's inspired us and we are looking ahead to another big production in 2005. The students would like to do something very different, so we would like to move in the direction of a rock style musical. We're considering Fame the Musical - has anyone ever been involved in a production? I'd be grateful for any thoughts, comments or suggestions! Thanks!
  2. Having never worked in either France or Germany, I can only comment on my experiences with native speaker language teachers in our department (mod langs) who say that both pay and conditions are worse here. The main difference in terms of status is that most teachers there are civil servants - they are guaranteed a job for life and have a status in society which we in the UK can only dream of! They are also considerably better paid I believe - and in France, I think they only have to teach 18 hours a week with NO other expectations. (ie no cover, few meetings). In both countries teachers are not expected to be at school when they are not teaching - certainly in our school, we're not even supposed to go off site at lunchtime without permission. Both German schools I worked in as an assistant (in different authorities) got time of in lieu of parents evenings as well...
  3. John I can't seem to access the site from that link - it might just be having technical difficulties right now, but could you check the address? Cheers!
  4. Things are obviously different at our school - supply teachers here expect a detailed lesson plan, usually just consisting of a list of p63 ex 1-3 etc. We are expected to leave this detailed work ourselves if the absence is planned, and those on responsibility points are expected to do it for those who are off sick. I am currently into my sixth week of setting detailed cover work for an absent teacher. Occassionally we are lucky to get a former member of the dept who will do some proper teaching and keep the classes moving forwards. Most of the time, however, it is non-specialists who expect to just babysit. I'm not sayin I agree that cover supervisers could do the job - for a start I think discipline would be an issue, and as others have rightly said, it amounts to little less than exploitation. However, it wouldn't be that much of a change for those of us lumbered with setting work.
  5. I am having doubts about the government's plans to introduce languages into the primary school and wondered what colleagues thought. Not about the issue - I'm sure most people would agree that in an ideal world we should all grow up speaking more then one language... I mean in terms of the way the government plans to introduce the language - to me it appears it's all talk and no money to back it up. Perhaps UK colleagues have some thoughts to offer - or maybe our colleagues from elsewhere could give us some details of Will the languages be taught by trained language specialists or will we spend the first year of secondary language teaching undoing mistakes ingrained by well-meaning but unqualified general primary teachers? Will schools be given the time and opportunity to come up with schemes of work that will allow for continuity, even when students feed from several primary schools (we have 13 feeder primaries). Will we all have to revert to teaching French as a first foreign lanaguage because primary schools all offer French? (We currently start half of the cohort with French and half with German - changing would involve massive implications for staffing). Any thoughts?
  6. Sorry - maybe it would help to establish whether everyone on here is also on Linguanet? I sometimes think of threads to start but then they get brought up in Linguanet and wonder if it's worth doing it again... But I'll start a thread and see what happens...
  7. It's true that students find it difficult to communicate in areas where dialect is spoken. In fact, I have to confess to understanding little if anything when I visited friends in Bavaria a few years ago, and have sometimes advised A-Level students to travel elsewhere if they want to really improve their (exam-orientated) language skills. I was actually lucky enough to find a course that was not literature based (Aston) - the only university in the country which is allowed to award BSc in MFL because of the modern, technological approach. We worked mostly with journalistic texts, interpreting, business language and also history and cultural affairs. I loved it - although I love reading, including in the target language, I hated studying literature at A-Level as it involved completely different skills to those I was interested in. With A-Level students, I do a literary topic for the A2 essay paper - but not a set text. The questions are much more issue-based and involve no in-depth literary analysis. That way I can introduce students to the joy of extended reading without putting them off by expecting them to do what they see as English Literature in the target language. (Sorry - gone off on several tangents....)
  8. I agree in principle with what you're saying, and the whole point of the experience is to raise self esteem. However, if you launch straight into these activities by asking children with low self esteem to judge themselves, most of them are immediately negative - they genuinely believe they have no qualities worth naming. By showing them first of all how much other people think of them, it gives them a basis on which to build - if enough people tell them that they are a good listener, for example, they start to slowly believe that they are. Further down the line, you can then ask students to explore their own qualities - when they have developed enough confidence to tackle what is to them a very sensitive issue. They find it much easier to praise each other than themselves. As a side note, it's also interesting how children with low self esteem respond to praise - research suggests these students respond better to low-key praise like "ok" and "good" than they do to more extravagent praise like "excellent". They apparently don't belive their work ever could be excellent, so they assume you must be lying or exaggerating. Anyone have any thoughts?
  9. Pastoral care basically means looking after the welfare of the students, ie it is not based on curriculum but on each child's other needs. This may involve issues of discipline, behaviour problems, counselling, mentoring etc. Each school has a different approach to pastoral care, but in most schools it is delivered by a team of teachers, from Form Tutors (each of whom look after the day to day wellbeing of a class); Heads of Year and their Assistants (who look after a whole year group, dealing with problems beyond what a form tutor can take care of) and usually at least one member of the Leadership Group who has overall responsibility for the Pastoral care system. Does that help?
  10. Oops - sorry! I have no idea why the whole quote was added there!
  11. This would also be backed up by the fact that, in general, students respond much better to guest speakers than to teachers. We have a visit from a Holocaust survivor every year - although most of the work is done in RE lessons, he does assemblies too, and students listen and respond to an extent they never do when the assembly is taken by a teacher. The point about the Holocaust memorial day is also interesting. It's a difficult area - because obviously we need opportunities to challenge students' perceptions of such events and stimulate debates but there is always a danger of sensationalising.
  12. Should the needs of an individual pupil with specific behavioural/emotional issues take priority over the welfare of a whole class? In discussion with colleagues at various schools, it seemed we felt the needs of difficult pupils are slowly becoming a huge focus. Though it seems like a callous thing to say, we all felt that sometimes we need to act in a way that means one pupil does not dominate the teacher's attention at the expense of the 29 well-behaved pupils in the class... Do forum members agree with us? Have we become so obsessed with the rights of the individual that we are in danger of overlooking the right of the whole class to learn without interruption? This issue seems to be compounded further by the fact that it's not PC to admit we can't always help with some of these students from challenging backgrounds - it seems to be expected of us that we can plan individual curricula for each child...
  13. So far we have been very lucky here - both of our Exchanges have supply cover funded centrally, we don't have to cover the cost. However, funding has become so much tighter this year that this may change. If it should come to be that we need to cover supply costs, our exchanges will cease to happen as costs have already risen so much for travel, insurance etc. It's something I certainly hadn't considered, but which certainly could become reality.
  14. It's not just students who need pastoral care - should schools and LEAs be doing more to protect staff too? Use this thread to share your own experiences, positive or negative, or to discuss what could and should be done to support those of us at the chalk face.
  15. Do you mean bullying of staff? That's very true - it's an important issue. I've started a new thread to deal with it to keep it seperate from ideas about tackling student bullying, though obviously they will occassionally overlap. But we can use the new thread for colleagues to talk about their own experiences of bullying in the workplace, and for all of us to offer support and constructive advice to each other.
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